Law enforcement prepares for race weekend traffic
Traffic control for the first race weekend at the Kansas Speedway can be considered a practice lap, Kansas Highway Patrol officials said.
At a recent meeting between Kansas Highway Patrol officials and police officers from Basehor, Bonner Springs, Edwardsville, Lansing and Tonganoxie, highway patrol officials said the first race will be a tuneup for bigger races later this summer.
"We are not certain we are going to get a true test on June 2, but this will be a good dress rehearsal," KHP Capt. Larry Bauchmen said.
Highway patrol officials said the expected attendance of the first race is between 30,000-40,000 people. Of that number, many of those in attendance will be local, troopers said.
The concern of the Basehor and Tonganoxie Police departments is the expected amount of traffic along Kansas Highway 24-40. During the meeting, highway patrol officials said they predicted the flow of traffic along the highway to be minimal.
"The biggest part of the attendance, as we understand it, will be local," Bauchmen said. "We don't expect much from outside the area, so the traffic on 24-40 will be minimal at best."
The traffic on 24-40 is expected to be much larger for the bigger races later in the summer, where attendance will be compromised mostly of people from out of town.
"For those (races), all bets are off," Bauchmen said.
Police department officials from Edwardsville and Bonner Springs said they expect the first race to go smoothly because of its size although it will be a learning process as well.
"They're planned out as well as they can be with what knowledge we have," said Sgt. Terry Hammontree of the Edwardsville Police Department. "There will be some fine-tuning going on."
Edwardsville's main concern will be 110th Street, Riverview Avenue, Interstate 70 and Interstate 435 and Kansas Highway 32. Traffic will affect Bonner Springs at State Avenue (24-40), Kansas Highway 7, I-70 and possibly the traffic flow from West Spoke Road.
Although the traffic for 24-40 is predicted to be low on Saturday, the KHP has developed a plan for interstate travel around the Kansas Speedway on race day. This traffic plan will be in place for the scheduled race dates during the 2001 racing season.
The changes in traffic control on race day will be posted on several variable message boards along the highways during the races. The highway patrol also will be using static signing, highway advisory radios, aerial video monitoring and aircraft to ensure the safe flow of traffic.
The highway patrol is working with a number of agencies to secure traffic safety on the race days. According to highway patrol officials, a plan has been put in place that will provide the greatest amount of ease of travel for people around and through the Kansas City area.
"With all the agencies involved, this is unprecedented," Bauchmen said. "This is something that has never happened before, so it's a wait and see thing, but we feel like we have prepared well for it and we'll be ready to go on Saturday."